There are a lot of people in the sport still reeling from the fact that an undisputed welterweight championship is not taking place next.
Included among those who fully expected that fight to have landed on the calendar is David Avanesyan, the fighter against whom Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford will instead defend his WBO welterweight title.
“I didn’t know there was no chance of the fight happening until they called me,” Avanesyan admitted to BoxingScene.com. “I thought Spence-Crawford would have been a great fight. I wanted them to fight before they offered it to me.”
Naturally, Avanesyan didn’t hesitate to jump at the opportunity of a lifetime. An immediate yes from the Armenian-Russian contender which followed the collapse of a modern day superfight paved the way for this Saturday’s headliner at CHI Health Center in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska (BLK Prime Pay-Per-View/PPV.com, 9:00 p.m. ET, $39.99).
Those who continue to support Crawford (38-0, 29KOs) are happy to see the switch-hitting three-division champ receive his first hometown affair in more than four years. However, there is a large faction of the sport let down by the fact that unified WBA/WBC/IBF welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr. (28-0, 22KOs) won’t be standing in the corner this weekend.
Avanesyan has a simple solution.
“I promise, after I knock out Terence Crawford, I will be happy to fight Errol Spence next,” promised the streaking Avanesyan, who has won his last six fights—all inside the distance.
Prior to the point of getting the phone call from manager Neil Marsh, Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17KOs) was already in training camp for a planned defense of his EBU welterweight title versus Spain’s Jon Miguez. Ironically, the bout was due to take place on November 19—the same date originally targeted for Spence-Crawford.
Avanesyan’s team was already preparing to bring in sparring partners to their UK camp by the time they learned of the Spence-Crawford collapse. His trainers instead had to round up the best possible southpaws available to help prepare for an elite pound-for-pound talent in Crawford (38-0, 29KOs), who is a perfect 16-0 (13KOs) in title fights spanning three weight divisions.
Weirdly, it was a conversation for which Avanesyan was already mentally prepared.
“I always felt like it was my destiny to fight Terence Crawford,” insisted Avanesyan. “Even going into this training camp, I felt like this fight was going to happen. I went to training camp in October to prepare for a fight on November 19. The day I get to training camp, they asked if I wanted to fight Terence Crawford.
“My manager Neil Marsh called me and I told him yes right away. It was impossible to say no. This is a very big fight and I’m very happy to return. This is such a big opportunity for me, for my family.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox